Football Team

Ron Rivera looking forward to facing old pal Andy Reid

Football Team

Ron Rivera has gone on the record multiple times before and stated that he owes a tremendous amount of his coaching success to Andy Reid.

When Reid was the head coach in Philadelphia, he gave Rivera his first real coaching gig in the NFL. Rivera, who had spent the two seasons prior as a defensive quality control coach in Chicago, was named the Eagles' linebackers coach in 1999 -- Reid's first year on the job. Rivera would remain in that position under Reid for five seasons before getting the chance to move up in the coaching ranks as the Bears defensive coordinator.

Now, over two decades on from the first season they coached together in Philadelphia, the two face one another as head coaches this Sunday as Reid's Chiefs travel to Washington to face Rivera's club.

Speaking with NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay, Rivera was asked on Monday if there's a bit of extra juice entering this Sunday's Week 6 matchup against his former boss.

"Yes, it does," Rivera said. "Coach [Reid] is great. He really is. He's one of the all-time best, one of the all-time favorite people in my life that really, truly helped me."

Of course, it would be an awfully sweet feeling for Rivera if he were able to lead his team to a victory over Reid come Sunday. But more than anything, Washington's boss wants to prove one thing to Reid when the two teams play next weekend.

"When I coach against Coach [Reid], I want our guys to play hard," Rivera said. "I want him at the end of the game to say, 'Coach, you guys played hard, man.' That's all that matters. It really does, because that means you're coaching them the right way.

 

"I take a lot of pride in that. I really do," Rivera continues. "To be able to be competitive against Coach [Reid] is a pretty big deal."

Next Sunday won't be the first time Rivera and Reid have faced one another as head coaches, however.

In 2012, Rivera -- then head coach of the Panthers -- led Carolina to a 30-22 victory over the Eagles in Reid's final year with the Philadelphia. But four years later, Reid would get some revenge on his former position coach, leading the Chiefs to a 20-17 victory over Carolina in 2016.

Yet, when Kansas City and Washington take the field on Sunday, it will be a clash between two teams who have failed to meet expectations thus far in 2021. Both clubs enter Week 6 with a 2-3 record and significant defensive issues, each coming off a double-digit loss in Week 5.

Although both the Chiefs and Washington are underperforming right now, many around the league are a lot more optimistic Kansas City will turn things around than Washington. The Chiefs are still one of the NFL's best teams and are back-to-back AFC champions. Patrick Mahomes also remains under center.

For Washington, its defense was supposed to be among the league's best in 2021. Thus far, they've been a bottom-five unit and have allowed 29 points or more in four of their five games. 

Kansas City is expected to win come Sunday. It began the week as 6.5-point favorites, according to NBC Sports partner PointsBet USA. It wouldn't be surprising if that number increased throughout the week, either.

For Rivera, though, he's not concerned about the fact that few believe his club has a chance to win this weekend against his former boss. In fact, that's exactly how the Washington head coach wants it to be.

"There's no pressure. That's the truth," Rivera said. "Now we don't have to win. 'Oh, you don't have to win, you don't have to worry about that.' That's great. We don't have to worry about that. We'll line up and play football. We'll show up on Sunday. We'll see what happens."